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People and organizations
Corporate body

Mechanics Institute Library (Moodyville, B.C.)

  • Corporate body

The Mechanics Institute Burrard Inlet was established on January 13, 1869 to build a building, establish a collection, and support a Reading Room Library and Museum at Moodyville. The building was formally opened on January 23rd. Some 40 individuals had contributed $5 each to erect a suitable building "at Moody's Mills for a reading room and library and for furnishing the same with Books and Papers"; donors had included S. P. Moody, Geo. Dietz, Josiah C. Hughes (the first president), P. W. Swett (the first vice president), among many others. The organization was referred to as The Library of the Mechanics Institute by 1874 (ref. Add.MSS 54 vol. 13, microfiche 06618).

Metropolitan Board of Health of Greater Vancouver

  • Corporate body

The Metropolitan Board of Health of Greater Vancouver was established in 1936 under section 51 of the provincial Health Act and by formal agreement of the following: Corporation of Burnaby, Corporation of Richmond, City of Vancouver, North Shore Union Board of Health (representing North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and West Vancouver school boards and municipal governments), the Boards of School Trustees for Burnaby, Richmond and Vancouver, and the Ministry of Health representing the University Endowment Lands. The Board was comprised of Medical Health Officers (who also formed the Board's Administrative Council) and Council and School Board representatives from each area, plus two provincial appointees. The purpose of the Metropolitan Board of Health was to provide a link between health agencies of the metropolitan area so that, where feasible, consistent policies might be adopted to deal with shared problems. The Board also acted as an advisory group dealing with broad public health issues. This responsibility included mental health issues, and from 1973 to 1985 the Board had direct operating responsibility for the Greater Vancouver Mental Health Service (which subsequently became the Greater Vancouver Mental Health Service Society, or GVMHSS). Member agencies of the Board were first requested to contribute annually to the incidental and operating expenses of the Board in March of 1982. The Board formally dissolved on January 1, 1997, upon the establishment of the regional health boards of Vancouver/Richmond, Burnaby/Simon Fraser, North Shore and South Fraser.

Vancouver (B.C.). Accounting Division

  • Corporate body

The Accounting Division recorded transactions in books of original entry, posted data to ledgers, summarized data in trial balance, and prepared financial statements. [Formerly known as the "Office of the City Accountant" until 1966?]

Accounting kept records by fund, e.g., capital fund, general revenue fund, sinking fund, debt charges equalization fund, and cemetery perpetual care fund.

Vancouver (B.C.). Archives Advisory Committee

  • Corporate body

The Archives Advisory Committee was established by Council on 13 February 1975 to advise the City Clerk and City Archivist on acquisitions, donations, revenue projects, public education, public relations, equipment, facilities, and related matters.

Vancouver (B.C.). Athletic Commission

  • Corporate body

The Vancouver Athletic Commission was established on April 30th, 1945 with the passing of by-law 2875, and is responsible for controlling and supervising professional boxing, kick boxing, and wrestling events in the city. It also prescribes the rules and regulations governing these events. The Commission consists of five members, four appointed by City Council on an annual basis, and the fifth member a councillor, who acts as a liason between the Board and City Council.

Vancouver (B.C.). Board of Variance

  • Corporate body

The provincial Town Planning Act of 1925 (section 16) required that a zoning by-law board of appeal be established by local governments. When the Town Planning Act was repealed the Zoning Board of Appeal was further provided for in the Vancouver Charter of 1959 (sections 572 and 573). The City passed the Zoning Board of Appeal By-law (no. 3844) on 17 May 1960. Its functions were to act as an appeal Board to zoning decisions made by an individual official or a City body (at that time the Technical Planning Board). The by-law provided for inspection of building sites by the Board. The Planning Department was to assign an employee as secretary and records custodian for the Board. Members of the Board were appointed and were to to have no connection with the City. The Board's function can be stated as:
(1) Zoning By-law exception rulings.
The Zoning Board of Appeal made final decisions and reported to no higher authority.
From the 1925 Town Planning Act the internal organization has remained fairly consistent: one Board member appointed by City Council, another by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council of the Province of British Columbia, and the third and chair by the other two. In recent years membership has been slightly enlarged.
Names varied as follows: Zoning By-law Board of Appeal, 1927-1960; Zoning Board of Appeal, 1960-1988; (and as of 1988, Board of Variance).

Vancouver (B.C.). Airport Board

  • Corporate body

In 1929, the City of Vancouver purchased 478.61 acres on Sea Island as the site for an airport which was formally opened in 1931. The airport was administered by special committees composed of City Council members and the airport manager. During World War II, the City's authority regarding the airport was assumed by the federal government, although the special committee continued to function in the daily operation of the airport. Control of the airport was returned to the City in 1947. In 1949, the special committee method of airport administration was changed by by-law no. 3146, which created the Vancouver Airport Board. The Board, which consisted of five unpaid members, functioned as the administrative body for the airport until the City sold its interest in the operation to the federal government in 1962.

Vancouver (B.C.). City Council

  • Corporate body

The 1886 Act of Incorporation of the City of Vancouver provided for ten Aldermen and a Mayor to form the Council. Aldermen were renamed Councillors in 1992. The broad function of Councillors, as direct representatives of the public, is to participate in the governance of the city through Council and its various Committees, Boards and Commissions. As members of Council, they propose by-laws and resolutions, consider and vote on all matters governed by the Council, and generally bring public and political concerns to the decision-making process. In carrying out these responsibilities, Councillors have no authority as individuals other than those powers delegated by Council as a whole. An example is the appointment by Council of one of its members as Deputy Mayor. Until 1936, Councillors were primarily elected under the ward system, in which Councillors were representatives of their respective wards. Since 1936, they have been elected in the present "at large" system. The nature of Councillors' duties have also changed over time. Before 1956, they were involved in all aspects of the governance of the City, including its daily operations. Since 1956, when the Committee structure of governance was abolished and a Board of Administration was established in their place to manage all operations, Councillors have become more involved in policy development and deciding long term goals for the city. They have also had the opportunity to specialize in their own areas of civic interest.

Under the Vancouver Charter Council has authority to delegate its executive or administrative powers to any committee comprised of members of Council or employees of the City. In many respects the "special committees" established during their particular periods indicate the issues or administrative trends of their day. For example, from 1930 to 1959 Council struck a very large number of special committees for brief periods to carry out a wide variety of activities, while more recently, since about 1975, special committees are fewer and generally remain in place for a number of years. Special committees have been assigned power to act or charged with reporting and preparing recommendations for Council. During 1930-1959 it was particularly common practice to also consider the following types of groups "special committees": ad hoc subcommittees of standing committees, working groups of senior staff who submitted reports (and sometimes recommendations), and small delegations of Council members in search of information or to communicate with higher government offices. Special committee memberships have varied widely, including many combinations of Council and/or City staff, private citizens, and members of outside organizations.

Vancouver (B.C.). City Analyst's Laboratory

  • Corporate body

The Office of the City Analyst was first established in the Health Department in 1892. With few exceptions, the responsibilities and functions of the City Analyst's Lab have remained constant since the establishment of the office. Changes that have occurred include having responsibility for Food Inspectors from 1924 to 1949, and absorbing the functions of the City's Chemical Engineering Laboratory in 1951. The office of the City Analyst has continued to provide consultation, physical and chemical analytical services to the City of Vancouver departments, and to outside agencies. The civic departments which use the services provided by the City Analyst include the Health Department for the testing of food, water, beverages, and environmental contaminants; the Engineering Department for corrosion-related studies of potable water and soil; Permits and Licenses for analyses of waste water effluents; and the Police Department for assistance in homicide, sexual assault, arson, and impaired driving investigations. The Housing and Properties Department, the Fire Department and the Board of Parks and Recreation are occasional users of the City Analyst's services. The laboratory also provides assistance to outside agencies including the office of the Chief Coroner of British Columbia which retains toxicological services on a yearly contract, surrounding municipalities, and crown and defense attorneys.

Vancouver (B.C.). City Planning Commission

  • Corporate body

The Vancouver City Planning Commission was established, in name, on 18 Jan. 1972 (by-law no. 4599), but its functions as an advisory body to City Council on city-wide planning issues were formalized on 16 June 1960 (by-law no. 3850).

Before the establishment of the Planning Department on 1 Nov. 1952, the Vancouver Town Planning Commission had carried out wide-ranging and influential functions, as well as specfic technical approval work. In 1953 the Commission's previous first level zoning adjudication function was taken over by a committee of City staff, called the Technical Planning Board (in existence 1953-1972). While, according to procedure, City Council still approved many anomalies, and further appeal was possible to the Zoning By-law Appeal Board, the Planning Department and the Technical Planning Board did all the preliminary work. Meanwhile the Planning Department expanded, and as it did so, the Commission's function became increasingly advisory.

During its first phase the Vancouver Town Planning Commission reported to the City Council Special Committee on Building and Town Planning Matters (known by various names over the years); as of 1956 it reported directly to City Council.

Vancouver (B.C.). Civic Museums and Planetarium Board

  • Corporate body

The origins of the Greater Vancouver Civic Museum and Planetarium Board may be traced back to 1959 when Council created a seven-member Board to oversee operations of the new Maritime Museum. An agreement in December 1959 transferred to the Museum Board jurisdiction over the City Museum, which had formerly been operated by the Board of Trustees of the Art, Historical and Scientific Association. The Association received representation on the Museum Board and became the official membership organization for City-owned museums. The Museum Board integrated the Vancouver and Maritime Museums into a two-unit museum system run as a City department under a Director of Museums (subsequently Manager of Museums). The Civic Museums Board was officially established by by-law no. 3960 in 1961. In 1969, the by-law was amended, changing the name of the Board to the Greater Vancouver Civic Museums and Planetarium Board to accommodate the newly built planetarium. The functions of the Board were as follows: to manage, order, arrange and dispose of displays, exhibits and collections of museum objects in order to benefit the citizens of Vancouver. It was to report to Council, submitting annual plans and annual reports. Its advisory functions were to concern public outreach, museum operation, museum fees, budget evaluation, and related matters generated by Council or by the Board. In 1972, by-law no. 3960 was repealed; on April 1, 1973, the responsibility for the Vancouver Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Planetarium was placed by Council with the Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association.

Vancouver (B.C.). Civic Theatres Board

  • Corporate body

The Vancouver Civic Theatres Board was known by a series of names: Civic Auditorium Board of Management, 1956-1960; Vancouver Civic Auditorium Commission, 1960-1961; Vancouver Civic Auditorium Board, 1961-1976; and Vancouver Civic Theatres Board, 1976-present.

The body was established in 1956 under by-law 3596 to administer, manage, and operate the new civic auditorium (the Queen Elizabeth Theatre). The Board was also expected to hire and oversee a theatre manager. The Board consisted of five members, including one alderman, then increased to six members under by-law 3601. Board members selected the Chair. In 1961, serious problems with the management of the theatre (the theatre manager hired by the Board was dismissed for financial irregularities and eventually convicted of fraud) resulted in the passage of by-law 3941. This by-law repealed by-law no. 3596 and took away the Board's financial powers (e.g., the power to make parking arrangements, collect monies, authorize expenditures, keep books and appoint a manager), thus creating a purely advisory board. In 1961 the operation of the civic theatres gained the position of a civic department (for more information about the activities of the Civic Theatres Department, see Civic Theatres Department authority record).

Since the passage of by-law 3941, the jurisdiction and function of the Civic Theatres Board has been to advise Council generally on the operation of the civic theatres (the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse, the Orpheum) and all matters related to their use and improvement, in particular: the forms of entertainment and types of organizations which should be specially encouraged to use the theatres; the advantages to be derived from adopting policies or methods of operating theatres which are in practice elsewhere; the integration of other facilities and concessions in the operation of the theatres; the annual budget of the Vancouver Civic Theatres as prepared by the manager (now Civic Theatres Director) and submitted to Council in the same manner as departmental budgets; the schedule of rates and rentals which are to be charged for the theatres' facilities as prepared by the manager (now Civic Theatres Director) and submitted to Council in accordance with normal civic procedure; such other matters as may from time to time be referred to the Board by Council for advice and recommendation; to bring to the attention of Council any matters relating to the theatres which, in the opinion of the Board, merit action on the part of Council.

By-law 5035 changes the name to the Vancouver Civic Theatres Board, and constituted the Board to have seven members, including one liaison Councillor appointed annually by Council.

Vancouver (B.C.). Computer Services Division

  • Corporate body

The Computer Services Division was established as a division within the Finance Department in 1966. Prior to that it was known as the Data Processing and Systems Division. The division is responsible for the centralized data processing and computer services function, including the management of word processing equipment, oversight of the use of personal computers, and, in conjunction with the Personnel Department, computer training.

Known as:

  • Data Processing and Systems Division, 1957-1966
  • Computer Services Division, 1966-?

Predecessor to:
Information Technology Department, ?-present

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